Robb Report Vices

Be Your Own Bond

Want to live like James Bond? Sure you do. As Nicolette Tomkinson, a specialist at Christie’s auction house, once told us: “All men aspire to be Bond, and all women want to be with Bond.”

In an effort to be Bond, we’re afraid your options are somewhat limited. Double-0 positions within the British secret service rarely need filling, and you’ll need a lot of luck to procure any of those nifty gadgets without your own personal Q. As for wooing beautiful and sophisticated women, those skills can, perhaps, be taught, but there’s nothing that can immediately transform you into a global charmer. However, there is one way that you can conjure up the James Bond lifestyle for yourself, and it’s on the road.

Since the film Goldfinger in 1964, Aston Martin has been the car manufacturer that the world associates with James Bond. “We don’t advertise as a company,” says Matthew Clarke, Aston Martin’s PR and brand-communications manager, “and one of the most immediate and obvious impacts of Bond—certainly in countries beyond our established markets—is if it wasn’t for Bond, there’s a fairly good chance that people wouldn’t know that we exist.”

In fact, Aston Martin debuted its new DBS in Casino Royale back in 2006, and according to Clarke, three-quarters of all Aston Martins built in recent years are painted in the special James Bond color schemes—the actual shades and names of which vary according to which Bond film was most recently released (the current offering, for example, is Skyfall silver). “People want to own Bond’s car,” he says.

When it comes to Bond’s car, there is one unequivocal choice—the DB5. Aston Martin produced 1,059 of them between 1963 and 1966, and Clarke says that at least 90 percent still survive and are on the road. In fact, two 1964 left-hand-drive examples are set to cross the block in Monterey, Calif., later this summer. The first (chassis No. 1466L) was originally delivered to a customer in Paris and recently underwent a roadworthy restoration by Aston Martin specialists. It will be sold through RM Auctions August 15 and 16 and is estimated to bring between $800,000 and $1 million. The other (chassis No. 1469L) was originally delivered to Switzerland and boasts an original color combination. It is expected to sell for as much as $1.5 million when it crosses the block as part of Gooding & Co.’s Pebble Beach auction (August 16–17).

Just how much will you feel like Bond behind the wheel of a DB5? Orlando Herrera, a 63-year-old James Bond enthusiast and previous owner of a DB5, says the association is unavoidable. “You can’t help it,” he says. “Even if you didn’t feel that way, people would make you feel that way. It’s a dangerous car to drive, because if you’re driving down the freeway, people are driving past you leaning out the windows trying to take a picture of your car with their cell phones. The car tends to cause a bit of a commotion.”

Our advice? Remember to keep both hands on the wheel. You may feel like Bond, but unlike the famous secret agent’s, your DB5 won’t drive itself.